By on May 29, 2019


Nissan Motor Co’s premium brand, Infiniti, will relocate back to Japan as part of the automaker’s commitment to restructuring its business in a post-Ghosn existence. The luxury arm was moved to Hong Kong in 2012 in order to better prepare itself for entry into the Chinese market. However, Nissan now says Infiniti needs to move closer to home in order to promote greater efficiencies and enhance collaboration with the core brand.

Considering most of the R&D work stayed in Japan and Chinese growth has been slow, representing about one-tenth the annual volume Cadillac sees in the market, this is likely wise decision. Infiniti claims it can maintain its focus on China from Japan while also prioritizing America — where it sells far more vehicles. Meanwhile, Nissan also hopes to regain control over its own operation after posting a rather ugly earnings report earlier this month. The financial hurt is expected to spill over into next year. 

As a byproduct of the move, Nissan also feels that it will be in a better position to electrify the brand. “This connection is crucial as Infiniti ramps up development of its battery electric and e-Power offerings,” the automaker said in its corporate announcement. “This move also will help increase efficiencies across the business in a hypercompetitive, disruptive industry.”

Nissan previously said that its luxury division would move toward becoming an EV-focused brand starting in 2021 — with every subsequent model playing host to a purely electric drivetrain or e-Power hybrid system. However, Infiniti’s introductory electric (based on the Qs Inspiration) was supposed to be produced by and for the Chinese market. That’s something which may no longer stand due to tepid regional interest in the brand’s existing products, adding to the compelling case for Infiniti to move out of China.

Customers can also expect more shared platforms between the brands. While Infiniti will continue operating independently, common vehicle architectures are supposed to become more prevalent in the coming years, reducing part costs and streamlining development. It’s also aimed at bringing up the core brand in terms of technology without skimping on R&D funds for Infiniti. Ultimately, Nissan believes moving its luxury arm back into Japan will be beneficial for all parties.

The automaker says its Hong Kong headquarters houses roughly 180 employees at present, adding that those who can not be relocated to Yokohama will receive some form of assistance.

[Image: Kazick/Shutterstock]

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9 Comments on “Infiniti Moves Back to Japan...”


  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Word has it Johan de Nysschen has quit the auto biz and now owns a corporate relocation firm.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Its too bad for this company. They were in a solid position. They even had solid SUV offerings back in the day , but their parent company starved them of an economical powerplant and quality interior finishes/design. Unfortunately they remain in aughts.I had great ownership experiences with the 2 Gs I owned.We have a pretty good dealer here.

  • avatar
    bd2

    Infiniti is in pretty sad shape, but that’s what happens when “Le Cost Cutter” starves Infiniti of investment.

  • avatar

    What parent company? Infiniti is not a separate company – it is just a fancy name for some Nissan (mostly RWD) models for US customers who like fancy names. All Infinitis in Japan are branded as Nissans. Have no idea what mean “HQ in Hong Kong”. Is it a marketing division? Because Nissan HQ and R&D are in Yokohama.

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      Yep. Walk into the parts department of any Infiniti dealer. All the boxes say “Nissan”.

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      Exactly.

      Nobody did any technical work at Infiniti in Hong Kong. Johan de Nysschen was CEO (of a Nissan marketing division not a company) for a few months there and then moved to GM.

      So this PR bulletin is pure horse manure, manufacturing a mountain out a molehill.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        But, don’t you know that; in the age of selling paper based on hype, rather than product based on competent engineering; what matters is where De Nysschen drinks coffee and buys handbags? Not where productive people, competent enough to build something more complicated than an overpriced latte, happens to ply their no longer deemed important trade.

    • 0 avatar

      Did Cadillac HQ work differently? Cadillac started as a separate company and did not share parts with Buick. I do not mean coffee shop – I understand GM does not make coffee.

  • avatar
    James2

    “However, Nissan now says Infiniti needs to move closer to home in order to promote greater efficiencies and enhance collaboration with the core brand.”

    Corp-speak for: We don’t want to pay the rent.

    For all his faults, though, Johan is smart. He doesn’t want to bump into the boss every day and have to explain why his XYZ car division isn’t doing well.


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